On September 14th, the communities of Moriac, Paraparap, Mount Moriac and Freshwater declared themselves coal and gas free. After many months of door knocking, informing and surveying our towns, the big declaration day was finally here. It was chance to celebrate our communities, the hard work of volunteers and our survey results.
The town hall decorated with yellow balloons, yellow lock the gate signs everywhere, banners declaring our towns Gasfield Free and tractors on the lawn all set the scene for a great day. The sun shone as the crowd arrived and found seats on the hay bales. Our guests arrived, and were all keen to say a few words about the threat to our town. Damien, a local plumber, started the proceedings by welcoming locals and guests, who would be presented with our declaration and results. “We are pleased to announce the results of each town surveyed: Mt Moriac 96%, Moriac 97%, Paraparap 93% and Freshwater Creek 92%, all wish to declare their towns gasfield free”. The crowd cheered.
We were very proud to present our declaration to each guest, including Federal Liberal MP Sarah Henderson, State Liberal MLA Andrew Katos, Federal Greens Senator Richard Di Natale, Local councillors Rose Hodge & Heather Wellington, as well as State candidates Andy Richards (ALP), Lloyd Davies (Greens), Lisa Ashdowne (Greens) and Adrian Whitehead (Save the Planet). No sitting MP has ever attended a declaration day, so we were very proud.
After a terrific speech made by Damien on behalf of the Frack Free Moriac group, each guest was able to say a few words. All were very enthusiastic about our fight and their willingness to help us protect our towns from the unconventional gas industry.Over 100 people stayed to hear the speeches and enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea.
A highlight of the day was having our group town photo, with a huge banner ‘we declare our communities gasfield free’ being held by politicians, candidates and the Mayor. Everyone together, everyone proud of their town, everyone willing to fight, everyone had locked their gates.
Our declaration day was a true celebration of community spirit. It couldn’t have happened without dedicated residents talking to and surveying locals. We have achieved something great in our towns, and we are preserving them, to keep them as beautiful as we found them for generations to come.
We have LOCKED OUR GATES.
Click here to watch a short film from the day.
By Alison and Damien Marchant